Meerkat Just Ruined my Sunday… and I’m Not Even Mad

I woke up this morning with the intention of getting a lot of stuff done… then I heard about  Meerkat.

The live-streaming app seemingly exploded this morning and I’ve seen more tweets about Meerkat in the past couple hours as more and more tech/digital people are jumping on.

I’ve admittedly been lurking a bit and watching people experiment with the app for the most part.

One of my favorite marketers, Apple’s Musa Tariq , just hopped on and was taking about how he’d love to see DJs (the radio kind, but sure, others could join in) use Meerkat as they’re used to sort of rambling and not having any audience feedback. I added that reporters could use Meerkat to keep people engaged as stories are developing or between live pieces.


You can bet the next few days/weeks will be filled with brands jumping in and I’m sure the executions will range from meh to bleh to awesome – let’s hope there are some good use cases.

I was a Qik user and checked out a number of streams from people on there back in the day, but the combo of bad data speeds and poor cameras definitely didn’t make for a great experience. Today, now that tech has progressed and people’s familiarity with live streaming, web personalities, and the idea of “lifecasting” (ugh… Did I just say that?) is fairly advanced, it could mean a whole new way of engaging and interacting.

I’ll definitely be watching to see how this goes.

Pinterest Goes All In on New Ad Messaging

Pinterest’s opportunity for paid media has been apparent ever since numbers of sales originating from pins on the site started to circulate.

Why is Pinterest so good at conversion compared to the more mature, larger networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram?

Pinterest’s head of operations, Don Faul, gives his two cents to the WSJ (and they’re good ones):

“Pinterest is not a traditional user-generated content platform, it’s a place where people are coming to discover new businesses, new brands and new products… Our users are expressing their future intent. It’s not the shoes they bought last week, or where they went on vacation six months ago.”

It’s that last part that really shows you the “why” in the explanation of Pinterest’s paid media opportunity – relevancy not just to users’ interests, but actually being at the right point in a user’s purchase journey.

Think about it – how often do you go to Twitter with the intent to buy something? You might be thinking about buying something and head to Twitter to ask friends (and complete strangers) for their input. Likewise with Facebook, you’re not going on Facebook to buy something – or to make a final decision.

However, with Pinterest, users are often collecting and narrowing choices between products (via their pins or those of others) they actually intend to buy (or want to at least).

Additionally, the fact that you can actually see an pin, click it, and be adding that item to your shopping card within seconds puts Pinterest ahead of the other image-laden social network out there vying for ad dollars – Instagram.


Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 6.01.43 PM

The embargo has been lifted and we can all preview President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address before he’s even done. I’m taking a little bit of an analytical look at his speech – as it was written (not necessarily delivered). The word cloud above represents the text of the address. Here are the numbers:

6,503 words

36,355 characters

340 sentences

20 words per sentence (avg.)

104 paragraphs

11th-12th grade reading level

Top Words (by keyword density):

America (35)

Years (25)

Time (21)

People (20)

Work (20)

Need (19)

Americans (19)

Jobs (19)

Country (19)

Tools used:

Word cloud –

Text analysis – and

Why Taco Bell’s 1 Million App Downloads Could Be More Important Than Their 10 Million Facebook Fans

I’ll admit it, I might be out of Snapchats target demo. I don’t use the app that much, but whenever I do open it I check out the latest snap from Taco Bell.

Today’s was especially interesting:




That means Taco Bell now has a direct line between their marketing efforts and the thing people have in their hands most during the day.

Yes, they have had great success pushing messaging out via Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and every other channel, but those instances are a bit removed from purchase when you realize people can actually ORDER freaking tacos from Taco Bell using their new app.

Not only that, the engagement (I’m talking more than just likes, comments, and shares here) Taco Bell gets via their mobile app is directly tied to end actions (or lack thereof).

The media guy in me is salivating at the possibilities provided by the combo of App, Social (you can register with Facebook), location, and POS data. It’s a digital media dude’s dream.

BRB, ordering a customized Crunchwrap Supreme…

Biz Stone’s Super: The App Users Deserve, But (Maybe) Not the One They Need Right Now

When you’ve done great things before, it’s only natural for people to look at every thing after that and compare new ventures to those previously-successful ones. When you’re Biz Stone, a founder of Twitter, those are some big expectations to live up to… but he doesn’t seem like he’s trying to meet or exceed everyone’s expectations – and that’s just fine.

Stone’s latest app Super (iOSAndroid), from his seven-person team at Jelly joins their app with the same name. Jelly allows users to post questions with images and solicit feedback from the masses.

This time around, the team created a platform for sharing interesting content all built around a set list of prompts. The prompts, when paired with user-shot photos or stock artsy images are then fed into a feed where other users can “Love” them or respond via their own post.

I’ve decided not to come up with some slick and pithy marketing description for Super. I’m also not going to proclaim that it’s the most innovative thing ever or that it’s going to save the world. It’s not, it’s just fun.
– Biz Stone writing about Super

There’s actually something to be said for the way Stone seems to be approaching life after Twitter. He’s out there creating fun, entertaining experiences focused on user interaction and enjoyment. He’s not heads-down focused on creating “The Next ______ ” or “The _________ Killer.”

I recently read Stone’s Things a Little Bird Told Me and I keep going back to a part in the book where he talks about how he and Ev Williams used to take new Twitter employees and tell them how and why the company came to be and went over their “six assumptions:”

Assumptions for Twitter Employees
1) We don’t always know what’s going to happen.
2) There are more smart people out there than in here.
3) We will win if we do the right thing for our users.
4) The only deal worth doing is a win-win deal.
5) Our coworkers are smart and they have good intentions.
6) We can build a business, change the world, and have fun.

Excerpt From: Stone, Biz. “Things a Little Bird Told Me.” Grand Central Publishing, 2014-04-01.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store:

It would seem to me that Stone (and in turn, Jelly) still heavily believe in number three. It’s also probably fairly certain they’re living by number one as well, since it’s yet to be seeking Super sees a better growth rate than Jelly (which is still alive and kicking).

This app will be compared to Secret and Whisper and probably even Snapchat (what isn’t?), but at its heart it’s about joining everyday conversations in a different, more communal way and giving people a chance to express themselves while doing it.

I, for one, am pretty excited about it. You can follow me at @ronschott.

Here are some screen grabs from Super:

After opening the app, you’re treated to a crazy pic of Bill Murray (yet to be determined if he knows he’s part of this).


The default view is the feed screen:


You can control what you’re seeing in the feed here


Start a post by choosing a prompt


Enter your text and sign it (or stay anon)


You can even add links and locations to your posts (something that could be attractive to brands – a differentiator from Instagram)


Logo Party (and How I Tried Fiverr)

I kept getting ads in my Facebook News Feed for “Fiverr” the online marketplace where you can get pretty much anything done for $5 (or more).

I haven’t really ever had a need for the service, but one of my goals is to get back into blogging more since things here are starting to slow down finally after moving from London, starting a new job, and buying our first home. So, in thinking about writing more, I wondered to myself “Self, why doesn’t this blog have a logo?”

That’s how I ended up finally clicking an app install ad on Facebook.

The process was pretty smooth.

I flipped through a bunch of “logo designers” – most of which were not U.S. based and looked to speak poor English. I’m sure they’re great at what they do, but for my first experience I wanted to have great communication.

After I submitted my order, the artist messaged me with a short questionnaire:


I answered back (and was probably super unhelpful):


Then a day later:


Just like that, four “custom” logos.

I’m not 100% sold on any, but they’re not terrible. Seeing as I paid $5 for them, I guess you get what you pay for.





Will People Keep Using #AmazonCart? Maybe

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 1.18.30 PM

When Amazon announced their #AmazonCart integration with Twitter, the internet nearly tripped over itself in lauding the inevitable coming of age of social shopping. But, what’s really going on?

Our team at Simply Measured looked at the uptake of the #AmazonCart hashtag and did a great job shedding some light on how the program is going thus far:


After all those tweets, the top-discussed item was a romance novel – wow.

Our team spent some time batting ideas back and forth about how we could see how many people were actually completing orders of the items they were #AmazonCart-ing about, but without API access, that would be a bit hard. Users are prompted to Tweet or FB post about the item the ultimately end up buying, but I’m guessing the people choosing to do so aren’t numerous.

If that was the case, you could actually start tracking initiated #AmazonCart transactions and follow them through to completed transactions by matching someone’s initial tweet:

Then you could see when Amazon replied to them:

Then, once they bought, you could see (if they shared) their confirmation of purchase:

But, like I said, not many people seem to be posting their purchases. One problem I encountered was seeing a number of things I wanted to add to my #AmazonCart, but not being able to send a tweet to Amazon because I had already said the same thing to them 5 minutes ealier: Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 4.16.00 PM Not very helpful. The other bit that, I’m guessing, might trip most people up is that you still have to actually venture to Amazon to complete your purchase. With American Express’ Twitter integration, you didn’t have to do much beyond tweet to get the things you wanted, which took the friction out of the equation. If #AmazonCart could take going to the website out of the equation, I’d certainly use the service more. As it stands right now, if I’m looking around the web and see a cool Amazon product, I’ll probably go straight to the site to add it to my cart and buy – heck, got to take advantage of the Prime membership, right? Just for fun, take a cruise through things that people are buying with this Twitter search:

Moving Forward


It’s been a while. Actually, it hasn’t been all that long, but a lot has happened.

In the past couple weeks, I left my job at IPG Mediabrands as the head of Spring Creek UK, packed up our belongings (in 8 checked bags), flew across the Atlantic (and Canada), and moved in with my wife’s parents (ultra glam, I know).

Moving home has given my wife and I a chance to be closer to family as some developments arose during our time in London – that’s the ultimate reason for leaving.

The thing I’m really excited about, though, is joining the team at Simply Measured.

I’ve been a #SimplyFanboy for quite a while, after meeting CEO Adam Shoenfeld years ago. At Spring Creek Seattle, we worked closely with Simply Measured as they grew and continued offering incredible reporting to augment (and empower) our in-house teams.

I started my career in PR, so I’ve written a FAQ to help with the details:

What’s your title?
Director of Client Services

What do you do all day?
I work with an awesome team that sits under Mari-Frances Bentvelzen, our VP of Account Services, that focuses on helping our clients build reports (dashboards, scorecards, you name it) that fall outside the scope of the current Simply Measured product suite (which is awesomely extensive). We are a small, but determined team made up of hardcore analysts and ex-marketers (that’s me). So, let’s same Jim owns a string of BBQ restaurants and puts a lot of time into social. He wants to see how his sales data meshes with the love their seeing on social. So, he comes to our team and we dig into their customer-side ERP system and start looking for correlations and a great way to show the relationship. After we’re all done, Jim has a report that clearly shows him that when his team puts out promotional deals on Facebook and Twitter, they see a 20% lift in per-ticket totals the following weekend. Jim’s gonna need more ribs.

Can I have a job?
If it were just up to me, sure! We do have a ton of roles open right now though and a super-smart HR team. Learn more about the company and check out the open roles here:

Why did you leave advertising, Ron?
I actually don’t look at it as leaving advertising behind, because I actually get to work with brands and agencies to help solve their problems. In fact, I think digital analytics and reporting is going to continue to be the backbone if successful brands and campaigns, and Simply Measured is going to be the leader.

What’s your favorite thing about Simply Measured so far?
The people are incredibly passionate. From the leadership team to the newest hire (of which I’m one), you can tell people are excited about what they’re doing and where the company is headed. They should be! A close second is the crazy awesome snack situation in the office.

What about Simply Measured has surprised you?
I’d have to say I was definitely floored by how much I DIDN’T know about the products and their capabilities. I’ve used Simply Measured for years, but people at Simply live and breathe this stuff and I learn more every day, from engineers, analysts, sales people, account people, and everyone in between.

What’s the meaning of life?

Seattle Council’s Limit on App-Assisted Rideshares Is a Blow for Tech Innovation and Competition


Ugh… How can a city with so much potential, momentum, and energy get things so wrong sometimes?

This afternoon, the Seattle City Council approved driver limits on app-powered ride sharing services like UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar. The final decision from the council comes after a similar decision from the city’s committee charged with oversight of taxis. One positive thing: the vote did make these operations legal under the City law, giving them a path toward recognition and acceptance (after they fulfill certain requirements).

Why should hard-working people who want to earn money doing something they like get told by the city when they can and can’t work? Why should the city dictate business and consumer choice?

Seattle is a beacon for some of the brightest minds around… which could very well change if the City Council makes a habit of siding with dinosaur-like industries which refuse to adapt to the times and offer less-than-desireable consumer experiences.

What’s next, the City Council takes on Airbnb to make sure the city’s hotels have higher occupancy rates? How about limiting the number of email addresses operated in the city to create more work for letter carriers? Insist Apple sells iPhones sans calculator apps to help the struggling calculator salesmen of Puget Sound.

How can Seattle simultaneously push ahead for marriage equality, higher minimum wage, and marijuana law reform, but at the same time reward and protect an industry that literally hasn’t upgraded their way of business (except for the new Crown Vics) since the ’50s?

How can we hope the next Airbnb, Spotify, Zillow, or Snapchat is started in Pioneer Square, South Lake Union, or Georgetown while we let our City Council restrict choice and limit technology and innovation?

We can’t. We shouldn’t. We owe it to the city and our future as a center for tech innovation to open up the gates and say “If you think you can do it better, take a hack at it.”

Facebook Brings Richer Targeting to Ads: Location, Demographics, Interests, and Behaviors


Facebook’s focus this year, in the advertising space, has been all about giving brands the tools they need to reach and engage their target audiences. With their latest announcement, Facebook furthered this push – adding targeting options for location, demographic, interests, and behaviors to the Core Audiences targeting options.

Additionally, they’re adding Partner Categories to the Ads Create Tool, bringing these targeting options to local businesses as well as larger brands.

These enhancements mean benign able to perhaps target users who have been married in the last 3 months as opposed to those who are simply “married.”

Brands looking to deliver business-focused messages can now look at places of employment and job title as targeting criteria as well – perhaps encroaching on some of the ad dollars set aside for LinkedIn.

For now, this is rolling out (slowly) globally, so get in touch with your Facebook reps about ETA in your area.